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    I Am an American

    I Am an American

    by Jerry Stanley

    A chronicle of the Japanese internment camps to which 120,000 Japanese-American citizens were sent, as seen through the eyes of high school student, Shi Nomura.

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    Paperback Book | Grades 5-8
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    Guided Reading Set: Level Z – I Am an American

    Guided Reading Set: Level Z – I Am an American

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I am an American

A True Story of Japanese Internment

Author: Jerry Stanley

Interest Level:
4-9

Lexile Framework:
1180

Grade Level Equivalent:
6.2

Guided Reading Level:
Y

Age:
9-14

Genre:
Autobiography and Biography

Subject:
World War II, Japanese and Japanese American, Tolerance and Acceptance

About This Book

During World War II, the United States government imprisoned 120,000 of its own citizens in internment camps. The reason? They were of Japanese descent, and the country was at war with Japan. Now Jerry Stanley, acclaimed author of Children of the Dust Bowl, introduces students to this difficult period of U.S. history. His photo essay emphasizes the personal trauma of the internment by focusing on one high school student, Shi Nomura, who was sent with his family to the Manzanar camp in the California desert. Through Shi's experiences, Stanley draws attention to the hardships undergone by so many Japanese Americans, who had their homes, livelihoods, and prospects taken from them in a blatantly racist action. (Although Germany and Italy were also enemy nations, German Americans and Italian Americans were not placed in camps.)

While Stanley draws on thorough interviews to provide much of the personal commentary in his book, he is careful to provide historical background information as well, all of which is thoroughly and carefully researched: from the history of Japanese immigration to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent rise of war hysteria; from the difficult return home of imprisoned Japanese Americans to the government's official apology decades later. And he notes the contradiction that let many Japanese Americans serve in the U.S. Army while their relatives were sent to internment camps. The absorbing narrative and clear explanations are supported by maps and well-chosen black-and-white photographs, many by noted photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. As readers follow Shi's story, they will get a sense of how it must have felt to have been the recipient of such injustice, and will want to know more. Stanley's fine book provides many of the answers, and a bibliographic essay points the way to further resources.


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